Armchair Chat with Greg Rutherford

Olympic gold medalist and Celebrity Masterchef winner Greg Rutherford joins Alaska Seafood to talk  all things food, diet and dinner ideas.

Greg, you have won Olympic gold at your home Olympics, Olympic bronze four years later, won celebrity MasterChef, been awarded an MBE and become a father. After all these incredible achievements, what one moment would you choose to re-live all over again?  

I think it would be easy to say the birth of my children but actually, I view winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics something which would be incredible to re-live because it was the catalyst for so much good in my life. Everything that’s come about since then has been linked in some way to me winning that day so I guess getting to do that again would be nice!  

How has your approach to dieting and nutrition changed over the years with the competition and now with retirement? 

As an athlete I was incredibly strict, especially with carbs and sugars. I always had a high protein diet (which hasn’t changed now I’m in retirement) but I now indulge in other stuff far more than I would have done before. I’ve never considered certain things off limits, I think you’ve always got to have balance and view food in a positive light, but I was certainly more careful.  

When did you discover your love for Alaska Seafood?  

I’ve always enjoyed fish but as an athlete I was searching for the leanest, best protein I could, and I found that in Alaska salmon in particular. It’s healthy, you can easily pair it with other components, it’s really filling, and you can always bring different spices and flavours to the pan when you’re cooking it up.  

What is your favourite dish to cook using seafood from Alaska? 

A salmon fillet on a bed of wild rice with a lemon and ginger sauce. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!  

How important is it for you to know where your food comes from and what nutrients it contains?  

This is hugely important to me. I’m very conscious about the environment and the food I’m putting in to both my body and that of my family. Hence why I’ve eaten seafood from Alaska for a long time - it’s sustainably sourced, fantastic quality and giving me all the goodness, I need out of a meal.    

What advice would you give to young athletes about what to include in their diets? 

I’d say you need to have a healthy relationship with food, first and foremost. Even if you’re being strict with yourself, you have to be able to enjoy what you’re eating otherwise you’ll just feel restricted and make poor decisions on what to fuel yourself with. Look into different ingredients, different ways of cooking, sauces etc. There’s plenty of healthy options out there which don’t have to be dull or leave you feeling hungry.  

With lockdown allowing people more time to cook healthy meals, what Alaska seafood product have you had recently or tried for the first time?  

While my kids are off school, I’ve been trying to spend more time cooking with them which we all really enjoy. I think it’s just a great to introduce them to fun flavours early on and make dishes less daunting. They’re really into noodles at the moment so we recently tried a noodle dish which involved lots of ginger, peanut and salmon and they really liked it. Next up, Alaska pollock tacos!  

During lockdown a lot of parents have struggled with creating different meal ideas for their children. What advice you would give to them and is there anything new that you have tried with your children? 

See above! Essentially, I just think people need to keep trying vibrant and punchy flavours in their dishes without the fear they won’t get eaten. It’s not always going to be a firm favourite or the whole dish cleared, but it’s worth giving it a go. We’ve always found letting the boys be involved in the kitchen means they’re excited to try their creations. Going to the fish counter, picking out ingredients etc. It’s all part of the fun... you don’t need to keep things bland and simple. And lots of colour is key!  

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

As someone who loves all food, that’s far too difficult for me to answer. Variety is the spice of life, so you won’t get me committing to one dish I’m afraid!